MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — People are protesting in Louisville, the Twin Cities and across the United States Wednesday after a grand jury announced its decision in the police shooting death of Breonna Taylor.
In Minnesota, activists say they are prepared for the long fight against injustice. Protesters rallied at the Minnesota State Capitol Wednesday evening in a collective call for justice for Taylor’s family, and a conviction for former officer Brett Hankison.
They are coming down the ramp closing highway 94 East in Saint Paul pic.twitter.com/9I2J3hg4y1
— Dymanh Chhoun (@Dymanh) September 24, 2020
Demonstrators then began marching down University Avenue, before dozens walked onto Interstate 94 in St. Paul after 8 p.m., closing both directions until about 8:40 p.m.
Minnesota State Patrol squad cars were seen escorting small buses onto the highway, which may have been in preparation for arresting people who didn’t disperse. It is unclear as of late Wednesday night if anyone was taken into custody.
After a day of protests in Louisville, rioters started setting fires in the streets at night. CBS News reports that two Louisville police officers were shot, but it is not clear if it was connected to the protests.
The grand jury charged Hankison with three counts of wanton endangerment. The charges against him were for shooting into neighboring apartments, not directly related to Taylor’s death.
Louisville Police shot the 26-year-old EMT in March while executing a no-knock warrant at her apartment during a narcotics investigation. Taylor’s boyfriend fired one shot at police, saying he believed they were intruders. Three officers returned fire, killing Taylor. No drugs were ever found in her home.
“The decision before my office as the special prosecutor in this case is not to decide if the loss of Miss Taylor’s life is a tragedy. The answer to that question unequivocally is yes,” Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said.
Many in Minnesota, where George Floyd died while being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day, say the grand jury’s decision to charge only one of the three officers involved is not justice for Taylor’s family. Some took to social media to express their concerns over the decision to charge Hankison, but not the other two officers, who still work for the Louisville Police Department.
“I think it was a compromise … brought to bear by the protest and national protest, and they felt like they have to do something,” community activist Mel Reeves, who founded the Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar, said. “The whole thing is just a mess, and again it’s proof positive the system and the way that they do criminal justice is just wrong.”
Reeves says it’s infuriating that the life of the aspiring nurse is not worth charging the people who he says are responsible for her death.
“I think the other two people should have been charged with endangering her life as well, reckless endangerment of some kind,” Reeves said.
He says activists across the country are digging in their heels, ready to take a stand against a system that he and others believe is not fair. For now they rally, march and try and change laws, seeking to create a system that has equal treatment for all.
Last week, the city of Louisville agreed to pay Taylor’s family $12 million to settle a civil lawsuit, the most the city has ever paid in a police misconduct case. The mayor also pledged police reforms, including an overhaul of search warrant procedures. The family’s attorney called Wednesday’s decision outrageous and offensive.